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Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith you say honestly.
D. Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman, that danced with her, told her, she is much wronged by you.
Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answered her; my very visor began to assume life, and scold with her: She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jester: that I was duller than a great thaw: huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible conveyance upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her; she would infect to the north star. I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed; she would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her; you shall find her the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God, some scholar would conjure her; for, certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary ; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither: so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
Re-enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, Hero, and LEONATO. D. Pedro. Look, here she comes.
Bere. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the antipodes, that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the farthest inch of Asia ; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard: do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy: you have no employment for me?
D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not; I can not endure my lady Tongue.
[Exit. D. Pedro. Come, lady, come: you have lost the heart of seignior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while; and I give him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before, he won it of me with false dice; therefore your grace may well say, I have lost it.
D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
D. Pedro. Why, how now, count? Wherefore are you sad ?
Claud. Not sad, my lord.
Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well : but civil, count; civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
D. Pedro. I'faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true, though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained: name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy!
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it!
Beat. Speak, count, 'tis your cue.
Claud. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy; I were but little happy, if I could say how much.- Lady, as you are mine, I am yours; I give away myself for you, and dote upon the exchange.
* Beat. Speak, cousin, or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak neither.
D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Beat. Yea, my lord: I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care:- my cousin tells him in his ear, that he is in her heart.
Claud. And so she doth, cousin.
Beat. Good lord, for alliance !—Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burned; I may sit in the corner, and cry, heigh ho! for a husband.
D. Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one,
Beat. I would rather have one of your father's getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady?
Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days; your grace is too costly to wear every day. - But I beseech your grace, pardon me: I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter.
D. Pedro. Your silence most offcnds me, and to be merry
best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.
Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born. Cousins, God give you joy!
Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of ? Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle. — By your grace's pardon.
: [Exit. D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. .
Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord : she is never sad, but when she sleeps; and not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness, and waked herself with laughing.
Ď. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
Leon. O, by no means; she mocks all her wooers out of suit.
D. Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leon. O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.
D. Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church?
Claud. To-morrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches, till love have all his rites.
Leon. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just seven-night; and a time too brief too, to have all things answer my mind.
D. Pedro. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us; I will, in the interim, undertake one of Hercules' labors; which is, to bring seignior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection, the one with the other. I would fain have it a match; and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.
Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watching.
Claud. And I, my lord.
Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.
D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know: thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain, of approved valor, and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to humor your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick:— and I, with your two helps, will so practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.
SCENE II. Another Room in Leonato's House.
Enter Don John and BORACHIO. D. John. It is so; the count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.
Bora. Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.
D. John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be medicinable to me. I am sick in displeasure to him; and whatsoever comes athwart his affection, ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage ?
Bora. Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly that no dishonesty shall appear in me.
D. John. Show me briefly how.
Bora. I think, I told your lordship, a year since, how much I am in the favor of Margaret, the waiting-gentlewoman to Hero.
D. John. I remember.
Bora. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber-window.
D. John. What life is in that to be the death of this marriage ?
Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the prince, your brother; spare not to tell him, that he hath wronged his honor in marrying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.
D. John. What proof shall I make of that?
Bora. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato. Look you for any other issue?
D. John. Only to despite them, I will endeavor any thing.
Bora. Go then, find me a meet hour to draw don Pedro and the count Claudio alone. Tell them, that you know that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio, as — in love of your brother's honor, who hath made this match; and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the semblance of a maid — that you have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial. Offer them instances; which shall bear no less likelihood, than to see me at her chamber-window: hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Margaret term me Claudio; and bring them to see this, the very night before the intended wedding; for, in the mean time, I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall be absent; and there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, tha: jealousy shall be called assurance, and all the preparation overthrown.
D. John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I'll put it in practice. Be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.
Bora. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me. D. John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage.
(Eseunt. SCENE III. Leonato's Garden.
Enter BENEDICK and a Boy.
Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring it hither to me in the orchard.
Boy. I am here already, sir.
Bene. I know that;- but I would have thee hence, and here again. [Erit Boy.]—I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love. And such a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe. I have known when he would have walked ten mile afoot, to see a good armor; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is he turned orthographer; his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not. I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair; yet I am well: another is wise; yet I am well: another virtuous; yet I am well: but till all the graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or